Laying the Table for a Better Food System
11 July 2022
How are digital technologies disrupting our food system? What will be the impact of cultured meat? How has food shaped the spaces and places that define our city? These and other questions will be explored in Cape Town during the two-week 2022 Food Dialogues programme through a range of experiences: from expert panel discussions to hands-on cooking classes for grown-ups and kids, walking tours, communal meals and art installations, from Monday 18 July until Monday 1 August.
Returning to physical spaces this year, Food Dialogues offers the chance to connect with our future food shapers in person and while there is much to feed all senses, the essence of Food Dialogues is to engage in a critical conversation about how food shapes and enables our lives, explore the injustice of our food system and how we can move towards one that helps us to flourish as people, families and society.
The programme will consider our present day societal relationship with food by looking at key aspects of our food system – where we buy our food from and how nourished we are from the food we eat – as well as how we can better partner to govern our food system, and how the medium of food itself can bring us insight, connection and joy.
According to organiser Kurt Ackermann, CEO of the SA Urban Food & Farming Trust, food is a medium for heritage, culture and innovation and is deeply ingrained in society for survival as well as identity. Food is also society’s mirror – a reflection of classism and inequality. These challenges require more engagement, sharing of ideas, expertise and innovation, but also celebration of our cross-cultural identities and foodways.
“We want to give both voice and honour to our complex food system and society, while amplifying unheard and diverse voices,” explains Ackermann. “The array of events reflects that desire and we want to reach as broad and wide a range of participants as possible; essentially, we want any and all to connect through this city-wide dialogue and through shared experiences with food.”
Food Dialogues features a series of deep-dive talks from experts, such as a mini-conference on Food Shopping Futures, which explores alternatives to mainstream food retail; and Feeding our Future, which aims to share both challenges and potential solutions for nourishing today’s South African children through their first 1000 days of life. Beyond these and other important serious conversations, are food events that will excite all five senses.
Straight from the Hearth
Dialogues through Food is a straight-from-the-hearth exploration of how food speaks to us. On Sunday 24 July, Seasonal Farm to Fork Experience with Chef Lapo will take place at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market (OZCF) at Granger Bay. The meal will be a celebration of farm to fork values, featuring seasonal ingredients sourced by the renowned chef from local farmers, some of whom will join the dinner, and the stories associated with the ingredients and farmers who grew them. Working with the idea of the hearth, and the love, fertility and life it represents universally, the meal will be cooked in the market’s wood fired oven.
Equally exciting is a second Dialogues through Food session at Bertha House, Tuesday 26 July, where Rwandan chef Jane Nshuti and Ugandan storyteller Philippa Kabali-Kagwa will collaborate on a communal meal that celebrates traditional African dishes and hearths. The storyteller will be seated with guests in a circle in the kitchen. As her stories unfold, guests will help the chef prepare and ultimately eat the meal together.
Four other hands-on Dialogues through Food sessions will take place in the Makers Landing demo kitchen, a well-equipped space in which to cook, plate, brew, eat, drink and more. Participants will be steeped in local food customs and flavours: from African beer and bread to sacred Ayurvedic dining experiences to African-flavoured ice cream, each taught by local experts.
Kids from five to 10-years-old and their parents can go on a flavour adventure of their own, hosted by Studio H on Thursday 30 July. The session introduces children to flavour profiles, the origins of ingredients and gets them working together in small groups, ahead of sharing their creations in a celebration of new flavours and knowledge, with parents taking the lead from their children.
Walking (and Tasting) the Food System Trail
From the kitchen to the streets, curated tours of Cape Town’s food systems will enrich participants’ understanding of the intricacies and complexities of our urban landscape. Curated by Dr Andrew Boraine, historian and CEO of the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, Food System Walking Tours of Central Cape Town will reveal the intricate connections and overlays between Cape Town’s ecological systems, history and food lineages, from pre-colonial to present day. Led by professional guides, the tour sheds light on how history shapes the modern-day food system in Cape Town and how the city is shaping our food system’s future. Along the way, iconic and delicious street food and snacks will be enjoyed.
Also on offer is a series of Food System Walking Tours of Philippi Village, which will take place in the heart of Phillipi. This two-hour experience, which includes a shuttle to and from the V&A Waterfront, includes the viewing of exhibitions of new graffiti works created for Food Dialogues and photographs of meals and recipes representing the community. Guests will be gifted with a recipe from a community member and the experience will culminate in a farm-to-fork meal at Phunga, the Village cafe, inspired by recipes from the local community.
Some events are free to attend while others are paid but all participants must register at fooddialogues.info
Food Dialogues is hosted by the SA Urban Food & Farming Trust with co-host and sponsor SOLVE@Waterfront. Co-sponsored by the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security, event partners include the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, African Centre for Cities, the Southern Africa Food Lab, The Oranjezicht City Farm Market, Bertha House, Philippi Village, City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government and Derrick Integrated Communications.
Follow the event on social media with #FooddialogueSA and on the following channels: